When compared to normal gigs, music festivals can have increased costs for artists. This includes travel, booth fees, and hotels/busses. This is especially true if the artist gets booked at a festival far away from their hometown. With the increased cost of performing, it is crucial that artists find ways to recoup the money they spent to be at the festival.
This is where having a fully stocked merch booth and selling strategy can come in handy. Today I wanted to discuss different things to sell at music festivals.
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14 Things To Sell At Music Festivals
1. Physical Media
As a musician or performer, having copies of your singles and albums available is an important foundation of any merch table. This is especially true with the recent revival of vinyl records. Fans may want something to hold in their hands and to add to their personal collections.
While the overhead for making CDs and vinyl can be high, selling physical media can be lucrative in the long run. This is especially true for artists and performs who play gigs regularly or perform at music festivals.
2. Digital Media Codes
As stated previously, there is a bit of overhead cost involved in producing physical media to tell at music festivals. There is also the concern of carrying around the items as you play gigs.
Many artists have turned to selling digital media at their shows or music festivals. This can come in many forms. For example, you could sell business cards with download codes on them, or stickers with QR codes on them.
If you plan on going this route, we suggest adding exclusive media to the downloads. Most people have a subscription to some sort of music streaming service. To tempt your fans to buy your digital media package, add some exclusive items such as rare photos and unreleased tracks.
Selling t-shirts and hoodies at music festivals is a no-brainer. People love buying clothing that sports the logos and designs of their favorite artists. This is especially true if you make exclusive or limited-edition pieces of clothing for the tour/festival.
However, the overhead for custom clothing can be a bit pricey. Like many custom items, clothing becomes more affordable in higher quantities.
This creates a bit of a balancing game. You want to buy enough pieces where you don’t have to eat your own profits or charge a crazy amount per item. At the same time, you don’t want to buy so much that they collect dust at your house after the show.
My best advice here is to analyze as much data as you can about your audience and merch sales. This will help you forecast how much merch you will sell per show. Do your research and find companies that will print you quality clothes at the best price possible. Crunch some number, and see what happens!
Much like clothing, hats are another popular item at festival merch tables. Outside of wearing them, there is also a culture based on collecting hats. You may even pick up some fans who are legitimately trying to keep the sun out of their eyes.
There are a variety of different hats that you can sell. This includes snapbacks, fitteds, trucker hats, dad hats, and beanies. Before picking a hat style to sell, do some research into what styles are popular in your audience.
Keychains are a great merch table item. They are low-cost and don’t take up a lot of space. Keychains typically have a low price point. This is great for fans who do not have enough money to purchase higher-priced items such as hoodies and vinyl.
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6. Buttons And Pins
Buttons and pins are great pieces of merch to sell at shows. They have a low price point, meaning people don’t have to invest a lot of money into your merchandise. While it may not bring you a ton of profit, buttons and pins can create great word-of-mouth advertising.
Pins and buttons can be ordered at reasonable prices. For those who are more DIY-minded, you can also purchase your own button press and make your own.
7. Patches And Back Patches
When I was in a band in high school, I used to cut up old clothes and draw our logo on them with fabric paints. This is not the most professional way to make patches, but it worked in a pinch and complimented my band’s punk rock aesthetic.
That said, you don’t have to go that route. There are plenty of affordable ways to make patches and back patches to sell at shows, gigs, and festivals.
If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can sew your own patches and use iron-on t-shirt stickers to add your logo.
You don’t have to set up a sign that says “Autographs $20”. That can be a bit offputting, especially if you are not an extremely popular artist. However, there are some creative ways to get money for your signature.
For example, say you are selling posters at a festival. You can sell the poster as-is, and you can also offer an autographed version for a higher price. The only thing this costs you is a little ink from a marker. Plus, there’s nothing better than making your audience happy.
Nothing is stopping you from just straight up charging for selfies. That said, it may not be the best way to approach this kind of sale. It may work for very famous artists, but can be a tough sell for indie and underground artists.
While you can charge for selfies, many artists elect to do them for free. It is a nice way to give back to your fans. It also works as a great form of advertising as many people will post their pictures with you on social media.
You could also take a hybrid approach. You can give free selfies to anyone who has purchased your merch. This way, your fans aren’t just paying for a selfie. At the same time, you can still ensure that you have money coming in for each picture you take.
10. Merch From Colleagues
You don’t have to just sell your own merch! If you are a part of an artist collective or community, you can make deals to sell your friend’s merch at your shows and festivals.
For example, say you are going on tour or to a festival and have a friend who isn’t on the bill. You can make a deal where you sell their CDs at your merch booth for a cut of the profit.
I have seen artists do this a lot, especially at smaller punk shows. I always thought it was a great idea because you could get albums from bands you have never heard of. I always love rolling the dice on a new album.
This is something that I wish festival artists did more. Over the years I have collected a crazy amount of custom sunglasses from insurance companies and other corporations giving out swag at events. However, I have never purchased a pair of sunglasses with the name of a band on them.
Music festivals, especially outdoor music festivals in summer, can have you stand in the sun all day. People often underestimate the power of the sun while standing in a crowd. This is where items like sunglasses can come in handy.
There are many websites that offer custom sunglasses for very cheap prices, some even offering less than one dollar per pair. These are functional items that can help concert-goers keep the sun out of their eyes.
Bandanas are another cheap way to get your name out there and make some extra money. While custom bandanas can be a bit pricey (unless buying in bulk), you can also make them yourself with a sewing machine and iron-on t-shirt printables.
13. Mugs And Cups
Mugs and cups may be a bit played out in terms of merch, but they can still be a viable item to sell at music festivals. People may not have a need for a coffee mug with your logo at a music festival. However, they can still enjoy it when they get home or give it to friends as a gift.
Hydration is essential at music festivals. I have seen people faint at regular shows when the AC breaks. I can’t imagine the potential danger of an all-day festival in the sun.
Even if you aren’t a food vendor, having some water to sell can bring you in some extra cash. Just make sure to check with the venue before adding this item to your merch table. Many festivals have their own rules for the selling of food and drink.
Do You Sell Merchandise At Music Festivals?
We hope you enjoyed our list of things to sell at music festivals! Were there any items that we missed? Let us know on social media!